Irish chef Clodagh McKenna has shared a behind-the-scenes look at her cozy Irish pub, built in the fictional setting of Downtown Abbey.
Broadspear House, The Cork Arms, is a renovated shepherd’s cottage set on the grounds of her and her husband Harry Herbert.
The Cork-born chef lives in Hampshire at her 300-year-old cottage at Highclere Castle, better known to Downton Abbey fans as the show’s setting.
“The History of the Cork Arms!” she said in a video voiceover on her Instagram.
“About a year and a half ago we started the restoration of this old run down shepherd’s cottage now known as The Cork Arms, our little private pub in the woods.
“For years, me and Harry would walk by it and think, ‘One day we’ll have time to make something magical out of this.’ Then, a few months before our wedding, instead of renting a marquee for 24 hours, we put all our resources into restoring the shepherd’s hut.
“It was an affair of the heart, I devoted every waking minute to it, but it was worth it. We wanted it to be sustainable, we wanted it to sing about Broadspear. We had seasoned wood from fallen trees in the forest, so we used that wood to build it,” enthused the star.
video of the day
Bad weather disrupted everything the couple needed to build their dream pub, the place where they have since hosted many celebrity patrons including Philip Schofield.
“The tiles, amazing, we found them all over the forest. So during the storms they were thrown into different parts of the forest and we only had to get about 50 together.
“Inside there is a large counter, this was a very special tree that was right next to our walled garden and was struck by lightning during a really bad storm and fell down. We took it away and seasoned it and now it lives on inside the pub forever.”
The couple got frugal with the whole project, buying most things off eBay, including the £12 Belfast sink on the windows, which McKenna says “I think was about £20”.
“I wanted everything to look vintage and sustainable, even the sofa I got on eBay. I bid for it for two days but ended up getting it from a lady in Bristol,” she said.
“We filled the rest of the pub with memories we’ve made over the last year and a half and put a fire burner in there, a wood burning stove, so we use our own wood to heat the whole pub.”
“There is also Guinness, Guinness on tap yes! I’m a Cork girl, I like my Guinness!” She laughed.
“We are so proud to have restored this old building which is so beautiful now and is used weekly by all our friends and family and has so much joy and love.”
Famous fans of the project expressed their love for the passion project in the comments.
Influencer Roz Purcell said “I love this” with a heart-eye emoji, while Rochelle Hume’s “This. Is. GREAT.”
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/clodagh-mckenna-shows-off-her-private-pub-built-on-grounds-of-downtown-abbey-set-42070197.html Clodagh McKenna shows her private pub built on the site of the Downtown Abbey set